What is the reasoning behind me being able to downvote an answer but still accept it as correct?

  • see discussions here (not quite dupes, but similar ground): meta.stackexchange.com/questions/686/… meta.stackexchange.com/questions/40627/… meta.stackexchange.com/questions/21258/…
    – Kip
    Mar 19, 2010 at 13:36
  • I can think of one situation where this could happen inadvertently: the OP didn't understand and downvoted an answer that was then explained in comments; it could be accepted at that point while getting the vote-too-old error when reversing the vote. But even that sounds better handled by social convention ("Hey, could you edit this so I can change my vote?"), and it's likely the answer would've been edited in that process anyway.
    – Gnome
    Mar 19, 2010 at 13:40
  • 2
    This is necessary, if only for meta. Use it for staff responses that you dislike.
    – Laurel
    Mar 22, 2022 at 12:16
  • 1
    @Laurel that's worthy of a new answer. Mar 22, 2022 at 12:42

4 Answers 4


This situation is 1) incredibly rare and 2) perfectly valid from a data integrity standpoint. Adding a feature to prevent this is unnecessary feature creep. This is the kind of complexity that you don't need in your system increasing your fault rates.

I'm sure there are plenty of other situations that "don't make sense" from a holistic, human point of view. Just because some of them are easier to implement than others doesn't mean we should implement them. The distinction between can easily implement and should implement is subtle but important. Further discussion is material for SO proper, not meta. :)


Because it probably requires extra code to prevent you from doing it, and no one thinks to do it, so it's usually never a problem.

  • You haven't changed your meta name in awhile, isn't your 30 days up, and isn't changing your meta name still cool?
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 19, 2010 at 13:21
  • 2
    And if they did think to do it, they probably have a valid reason.
    – Gnome
    Mar 19, 2010 at 13:36
  • @Pollyanna - I changed my name to this before there was a 30-day limit. I'm at a loss as to where I can go from here, as my current name hits the length limit. Otherwise, I would change it to "I Was Changing my Name on Meta Before Changing Names on Meta was Cool." Mar 19, 2010 at 19:23
  • @Cha - IWCMNOMBCNOMWC has a certain ring to it.
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 19, 2010 at 20:06
  • @Pol - That would fit, but I've decided to take on a different issue. Fortunately, my recent responses is still registering @Cha for a while. Mar 19, 2010 at 20:08
  • @Length Limits on Names are Stu: I was going to say something witty about your name, but I hit the comment length limit.
    – mmyers
    Mar 19, 2010 at 20:17
  • @mmyers - I find it funny that you indirectly said something witty about my name in a comment well under the length limit, thereby invalidating your own witty remark. Mar 19, 2010 at 20:25
  • @Len: Confuse 'em until they upvote you, that's my motto. (Unless it was Welbog's -- I forget.)
    – mmyers
    Mar 19, 2010 at 20:38

Because sometimes an answer is "right" but still "wrong". Like, maybe it's nearly incomprehensible, but after staring at it for a while you finally tease out the hidden clue which leads you to the solution. Accept for truth, downvote for style.

  • Or maybe the question was "How does I parse this HTML with regex?" and the answer provides a regex that works for that specific HTML requirement, but is an unreadable beast. Mar 19, 2010 at 19:32

what is the reasoning behind being able to downvote a post yet still accept it as correct answer to my question?

"I already knew about this solution and I hate it. I was hoping for something better from the SO hivemind, but technically it is correct, and people who come on this question in the future may not have known about this correct (but horrible) answer, so it's best to implement it, mark it as accepted, and move on with my life."

It's also useful for those really hard bounty questions - you may have to accept an answer, even if it's not one you like or really agree completely with.

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